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Manifestos in Contemporary Danish Gender Debates

Manifestos, traditionally understood as provocations that speak out against established norms, have played such crucial roles in upheavals in the spheres of art, politics, and everyday life that existing research sees manifestos and modern publics as mutually dependent. Not least, manifestos have been important in understandings of gender roles, where, for example, SCUM Manifesto (1967) and the Red Stocking Manifesto (1971) have ignited heated debates and disrupted established understandings of gender, both internationally and in Denmark.

The hypothesis of this project is that the manifesto is a privileged form of social action in the public gender debate in Denmark today. This hypothesis is pursued through two connected studies: The first study analyses and compares contemporary Danish gender manifestos, e.g. Ludermanifestet (2017) and Jeg Anerkender Ikke Længere Jeres Autoritet. Manifest (2022), through rhetorical critique, with the aim of understanding current Danish gender manifestos as social actions. In collaboration with two Danish NGOs working to promote gender equality from two different positions in the gender debate, the second study uses affective writing experiments and participatory action research to test how the manifesto can be used in practice, with the aim of giving the two NGOs a stronger voice in the public debate.

The project intends to reflect openly, curiously, and critically on its normative aspects and aims to contribute to the discussions on the relationship between research and activism with insights into which exchanges between the two areas can be problematic and which can be productive.

The project is led by Kira Skovbo Moser and is situated at the Center for Rhetoric.